Patriot Day Returns this Weekend

For the fifth year in a row, Patriots Day will be held on Labor Day weekend. The fundraiser for U.S. military veterans and their families has generated $8.9 million so far and become the largest annual grassroots golf event in the country.

The idea behind the program is simple: Golfers can add $1 or more to their green fees to assist the veterans and their families. More than 2,100 military families have benefited from the Folds of Honor Foundation. The nonprofit foundation provides scholarships and other educational assistance to the children and spouses of fallen and disabled service members.

This year more than 4,000 courses across the country are participating in the effort. President George W. Bush will once again serve as Honorary Chairman and kick off Patriot Golf Day during a special event in Dallas on Thursday, September 1.

The program was originated by Maj. Dan Rooney of Broken Arrow, Okla. Maj. Rooney is a PGA professional and an F-16 fighter pilot. In 2008, he received the PGA of America's inaugural Patriot Award for his foundation efforts.

Maj. Rooney was inspired to launch Patriot Golf Day after witnessing a 2006 flight to Grand Rapids, Mich., where a fallen soldier's coffin was returned to his family on a rain-splattered tarmac.

"The needs of military families are great," Major Rooney said earlier this week. "There are more than 250,000 dependents of fallen and wounded military service men and women from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts alone, and 87 percent of those dependents do not qualify for federal educational assistance. That figure is shocking. We can do better. We must do better.

"Patriot Golf Day allows us to present an ongoing tribute to our brave service members by ensuring that the families of fallen and wounded warriors have hope for the right educational start to life and best future possible.

"So do your part. Become A Patriot. Join the Mission. Play golf this weekend."

The effort is backed by the PGA of America and the United States Golf Association, and receives corporate support from Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser, Titleist, Pinnacle, AHEAD, Inc., Bushnell, Golf Channel, POLO GOLF, Golf Pride, Lifelock and Pima Direct.

To find a list of participating courses and for additional information, visit